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Inside the ropes: 1st-rounder Jones stands out in practice

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Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 8:36 p.m.
 

• With LaMarr Woodley missing part of practice with a sore calf, rookie first-round pick Jarvis Jones was moved into the starting lineup and impressed almost immediately. While playing right outside linebacker and Jason Worilds flipping over to left, Jones made a number of plays during the live hitting portion of practice, including running down a ball carrier with backside pursuit. But he wowed everybody with an athletic move not many can duplicate. Jones batted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the air and intercepted it during an 11-on-11 team portion of practice. Jones said following practice that he has been studying Houston defensive end J.J. Watt when it comes to batting balls.

• The Steelers appear to have a number of choices when it comes to kickoff returns. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Reggie Dunn, Curtis McNeal, Kashif Moore and J.D. Woods took turns returning kickoffs.

• On one occasion, the Steelers broke out the “Amoeba” defense, in which none of the 11 players puts his hand in the dirt during an obvious pass-rushing situation. That included defensive linemen Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood.

• Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell continued to get work with the first team and was joined for the first time by third-rounder Markus Wheaton. Wheaton ran a significant amount of plays with the first team as the slot wide receiver replacing Jerricho Cotchery.

• Special teams coach Danny Smith ran a drill with the field goal team called “May Day,” the code word to notify the unit to hurry onto the field for a last-second attempt. Smith counted down for 12 seconds to put pressure on kicker Shaun Suisham, who nailed a 51-yarder out of the hold of Bruce Gradkowski.

• Former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic was at practice watching his son, Mike Golic Jr. Golic Jr., a Notre Dame graduate, is a rookie free-agent tackle.

—Mark Kaboly

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